Auto: Infiniti EX35 vs. Audi Allroad
October 26, 2012 | 11:00 am
(Updated: March 18, 2013 | 5:43 pm)
What does 50 Gs buy you these days? In the car world, it could buy you a number of sedans or sports cars, but Coloradans are looking for something more capable this fall. Even though the full-fledged truck-based SUV has gone out of style, especially for families, it doesn’t change the need for more space, more ground clearance and power to all four wheels.
This is where the Crossover segment comes into play. The Crossover typically brings more cargo carrying flexibility, is available in all-wheel drive, and is cable of some light off-road and winter excursions. They include the 2012 Subaru Impreza Sport, 2013 Subaru XV CrossTrek and Nissan Juke of Hyundai Tucson. And in adding some higher-class luxury, look to the 2012 Infiniti EX35 Journey AWD and 2013 Audi Allroad Premium Plus.
What we have here is a Japanese versus German match-up. In the Japanese corner, we have the 2012 Infiniti EX35 (EX 37 for 2013) coming in at $45,095, and in the German corner we have the all-new 2013 Audi Allroad at $47,395. Despite the slight price difference, these cars are well matched. Each has navigation, satellite radio, memory and heated leather seats, automatic tailgate, powerful engines and gas economy that won’t make you curse every time you fill up. All the options, performance figures and price comparisons really don’t speak to the thing that differentiates these cars from each other. And they truly are different.
Both cars will propel you to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds. One note, the 2013 Infiniti will make a change to the EX37 and, finally, be available with the more potent 3.7 V6 cranking out 325-hp as opposed to the current 297-hp in the EX35. Ironically, the Audi doesn’t have as much horsepower at 211-hp, but with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine, it actually matches the performance of the EX35 and pulls ahead in the fuel economy figures. This is really the way of the future if you look at the way Hyundai, Kia, BMW, Ford and GM are handling their engine technology. The idea is smaller engines with some combination of direct injection and a turbocharger (or two).
The differentiator? The design and driving experience. The Infiniti EX35 is more calm and refined in its design. Other than the deep and sparkling Garnet paint, this Crossover basically goes for understated luxury. Since its introduction, it has gotten a little more aggressive in the front to keep up with the Infiniti family look, but overall it is a nice looking crossover that looks more like the FX SUV cousin than a station wagon. When you drive it, you will find power steering that is on the heavier side and a logical, yet simple interior layout. The front seats are well bolstered, and the Wheat (cream-colored) interior option gives the car a higher-class feeling akin to Range Rovers and BMWs.
The all-new Audi Allroad is a little bit of a different story. The Allroad is more aggressive with a large front grille adorned with unique chrome vertical details. The aluminum is a strong accent in this car with it continuing to accent the Allroad under the doors, on the roof rails and under the rear bumper fascia. The aluminum also appears as accent detail inside the car in the place of what might seem like the standard wood trim, a la the Infiniti EX35. The Audi doesn’t give that refined and subdued impression; the impression it does give is high-tech and aggressive with a sense of status. Driving the Audi is more sports inspired with the electromagnetic variable steering. You will notice the feather-light operation at a standstill and what seems like an impossibly well balanced feeling at all other speeds.
Which one wins? As they say, different strokes for different folks. You will just have to test-drive them both to see whether the precision of German engineering gets you hot and bothered, or if you opt for a more relaxed and calm luxury experience with a performance bite.